The first two weeks of winter training has been very successful for Team Six. Thanks to everyones effort we deployed all available aircraft with no issues and were able to start supporting jump operations and a aircraft qualification the next day. That says a lot about the caliber of our maintainers of Kay and Associates, our Crew Chiefs, and Operations NCO who made it such a smooth transition.
Now we’re starting to get settled into our flow of supporting daily operations and even flew two demonstrations into Homestead’s annual Rodeo with Black and Gold Teams. As the Annual Certification Cycle progresses we will continue to hone our skills and prepare for a great 2014 show season. Team Six is proud to support the world class U.S. Army Parachute Team, The Golden Knights.
The road leading us to our Annual Certification Cycle was long and full of many moving pieces. One of our C-31A aircraft went into heavy maintenance checks in December and was delivered back to us by our Maintenance Pilots Mr. Breeden and Mr. Reiner in early January. The aircraft went right into the paint facility in Arkansas before we deployed to Florida. We are all looking forward to demonstrating for the American public from the newly overhauled aircraft in 2014.
We were assigned two new pilots over the summer along with one new crew chief. CW3 David Burns, and CW4 Joshua Howe arrived at Pope Field to join our team and they haven’t taken a break yet. Both pilots have a long history of flying UH-60 and CH-47 helicopters in combat and multiple fixed wing aircraft during their career. SGT Jason Desando has been an excellent addition to our Aviation Detachment and comes to us from a CH-47 unit here at Fort Bragg. All three of these Soldiers bring various unique experiences to our team and represent a nice cross section of our U.S. Army. Look for all three during our upcoming show season.
Our newest airborne teammates that graduated from 2013 Assessment and Selection are making us all proud and seem to be progressing nicely. We have a Friday night tradition here in Florida of having “Wing Night” at the Value Place sponsored by the aircrews and maintainers. It’s a great opportunity for all of us to unwind after a long week and tell stories on each other.
As most of the East coast and deep South experienced snow this week, we were left with a large amount of rain and were nearly washed away.
As the New Year rolls around, the Golden Knight demonstration teams gear up for start of the 2014 air show season. The teams have arrived in Homestead, Florida to begin their two month annual certification cycle. Once completed, the teams will be ready to take on the show season. These Golden Knights are excited to get back on the road and perform.
The annual certification cycle starts off with an intensive week of demonstration accuracy stack jumps. This is the time for the old members of the team to work with the newest members on stack order discipline and accuracy training. Though the teams battled high wind conditions all week they got off many successful jumps. Our eight newest members, who just recently went through the Golden Knight Assessment and Selection, have quickly found their place on the team and have shown great promise.
The Gold and Black Demonstration teams kicked off the 2014 air show season with a jump into the Homestead Rodeo over the weekend. Gold Team had the privilege of jumping on Saturday. Their team leader, SFC Dustin Peregrin, jumped in with the Golden Knight baton to present to Mayor Jeff Porter. Black team backed up that performance by jumping in a stellar show the following day. Attached below is the a video from the homestead rodeo.
Homestead Mayor with members of the Gold Demonstration Team
SGT Gallagher jumps the POW Flag into the Rodeo
LTC Melendez observing the Gold Demonstrator’s packing
The skies are looking bright and the Knights are soaring high. As the new fiscal year kicks off, the Demonstration teams are raring to begin performing.
During the past few months, the Demonstration teams have been training together to build on their collective flight skills and target precision. Our training days run the gamut from narration to Canopy Relative Work and big ways to accuracy landings. Below pictures an 11-way over our home drop zone, Laurinburg, NC, taken by SFC Joe Ablen.
Recently the Demonstration teams had the privilege of jumping into one of our local schools on Ft. Bragg, Albritton Middle School, for their Spirit Week. The teams combined their efforts to perform for the enthusiastic students. Gold Team’s, SGT Blake Gaynor, jumped first to test out the high winds over the school and to narrate the show for the rest of the jumpers. The team then did a baton pass, followed by a mass formation lead by the Gold Team Leader, SFC Dustin Peregrin.
The baton was presented to Lora Tensley, who has served in our community’s school systems for the last 30 years. A few of Albritton’s eager students helped the jumpers pack up their parachutes to be jumped again soon, in the North Carolinian Blue Skies.